The Talk host Elaine Welteroth has broken her silence after a recording was published that revealed she consoled Sharon Osbourne after the controversial 10 March episode.
"I thought we had closed the painful, public chapter of the controversy related to the March 10th show," the 34-year-old said in a statement., adding that she must "reluctantly wade into this now simply to ensure that, as a Black woman, I am not silenced or side-lined."
"What I am sharing today is consistent with what I have already shared on camera. Nothing has changed," Elaine's statement read.
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"It is not news that I did not call Sharon a racist and it is certainly not news that the way the show unfolded caught us all by surprise. None of us wanted that day to go how it did and I do not regret sharing these feelings in a private conversation with a colleague. I welcome fair, constructive dialogue and I am no stranger to tough conversations about race. But I will not be vilified for telling the truth, on or off-air."
On the audio, published by the Daily Mail, Elaine could be heard telling a tearful Sharon that show bosses had asked her to initiate the conversation, which focused on Sharon's support for Piers Morgan in the wake of his controversial comments on Meghan Markle.
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"They asked me to ask that question. I said, 'No I'm not going to ask that question,'" Elaine could be heard telling Sharon on the recording.
Sharon said she was "blindsided"
"I said, 'Wait, what's the intention of this conversation? Because this can go left so fast. I said to them, 'This is going to be a train wreck.' Sharon I'm just so sorry that went the way that it went."
Sharon replied: "Do you know what it is, though? When you have to sit there and defend yourself, it makes you look guilty because you can't get out of it."
Elaine then could be hear telling Sharon that their co-host Sheryl Underwood was her friend, insisting: "She doesn't think you're racist. I don't think you're racist. No one who knows you would ever say that or feel that."
Sharon stepped down as host after weeks of investigaton
"But why couldn't she have said, 'I've known you for 11 years, I know you are not racist,' instead of 'I don't think you are, no, I know you aren't.' There's a huge difference," said Sharon.
On 10 March, the hosts of the CBS show discussed Piers' decision to publicly disparage Meghan and her claims that she had considered ending her own life during her time as a senior member of the British royal family.
Sharon had tweeted her support for Piers' right to say what he felt, and Sheryl and Elaine suggested unconscious racism was at play.
Jerry (bottom left) is the new host
Elaine's statement concluded: "To set the record straight, it was not a hot mic — I was unlawfully recorded without consent. And I never filed a complaint with HR against Sharon Osbourne or anyone else. I am disheartened, however, that my kindness has been taken out of context and weaponized in an attempt to absolve responsibility for someone else's actions.
"I was honored to join The Talk to add my voice to important and lively conversations. I am so excited about the next chapter with our new co-host Jerry O'Connell and I am grateful for the new perspectives he will bring to the show."
After weeks of investigation by CBS, Sharon stepped down as host of the show.